More doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are on the way, and Gov. Jared Polis is hopeful that an increasing number of them will be in the arms of all Coloradans by early summer.
To get there, though, will require a lot more doses of the vaccine to be distributed to the states from the federal government, which President Joe Biden has said he hopes to accomplish in his first 100 days in office.
To date, the state has received 376,920 first doses of the vaccine, and 217,520 second doses.
Next week, the state is expecting to get another 42,120 first doses and 16,380 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine, along with 38,170 first and 33,200 second doses of the Moderna vaccine.
As of Tuesday, the state has administered more than 458,000 vaccines to Coloradans, about 376,000 first doses and 83,000 second doses. Polis said he hopes to have 10,000 more people vaccinated daily through this weekend, but he said it’s going to take some time to get to all 5.7 million residents in the state.
“Vaccines are not sitting on shelves,” Polis said. “They’re used everyday, and we need more. At those levels (of doses coming to Colorado), it will take an awfully long time ’til we achieve a level of immunity when the pandemic is over, but we are very hopeful those numbers will increase promptly.”
Mesa County eclipsed 9,000 doses administered as of their Tuesday report. Of the 9,038 doses administered thus far, 7,425 were first doses. The number of Mesa County residents to have received both doses is now 1,613. Just over 15,400 vaccine doses have been allocated to Mesa County thus far.
Jeff Kuhr, director of the Mesa County Public Health Department, said his staff started offering vaccines out of the Two Rivers Convention Center on Monday. He said the county is only expecting 500 more doses this week, saying he has a total of about 2,000 total doses available that he hopes to have administered by week’s end.
He also said that nursing homes and long-term care facilities, which are getting vaccines directly from the state, should have all of their residents and staff completely vaccinated by this weekend.
Kuhr told Mesa County commissioners on Monday that while that’s a good thing, he doesn’t believe the vaccines should have been doled out to providers in the way it has, at least not at first.
“We think it should be coming to a centralized source, and then distributed from the local level,” he said. “You’ll hear this nationally and from the state that more dispensing areas are better. To begin with, that’s not true. It’s a mess. When you have lots and lots of dispensing that are being run by the state, it’s very difficult to keep track of. It would be better for it to come to a hub, which we have that process now, and then distributed out. We can’t keep track of the inventory and the need moving forward.”
He said only when there are far, far more doses of the vaccine available and distributed to local counties does it make sense to have more sites were people can get them.
The state is still in the first phase of giving out the vaccine, which started with essential medical providers who are working directly with COVID-19 patients, front-line workers and first responders, and now people 70 and older.
Like Mesa County, other area counties also are starting to open up the vaccine to older residents. Medical personnel at the Delta County Memorial Hospital, for example, began providing vaccinations to county residents 70 and above as of last Friday.
So far, health-care workers at the hospital have administered about 300 vaccinations to older residents. To date, the hospital has injected nearly 900 front line workers and residents 70 and over with the vaccine since they became available.
“There isn’t anything wrong with (the vaccine), and it didn’t hurt,” said Virgil Spencer, 89, one of the first Delta County residents over 70 to get it. “I’ve gotten all my flu shots this year. I should be good for another 100 years.”